The festive season of Navaratri has begun …….
It is one of the most significant festivals in Hinduism, celebrating the Mother Goddess Shakti/Durga in her various avatars for nine consecutive days.
Sharad Navaratri which is celebrated each year around the months of September to October coincides with the beginning of Fall in the northern hemisphere. This sacred festival celebrates the nine avatars of Goddess Durga/Shakti and the triumph of good over evil.
The festival of Navaratri is celebrated in the bright half of the Hindu Calendar month Ashwin. ‘Nava’ means nine and ‘ratri’ means night in Sanskrit, hence the name Navaratri. Various forms of Goddess Durga are worshipped in order to be blessed with power, wealth, prosperity and knowledge.
Amidst the varied ritualistic practices in various parts of the country, fasting is a very commonly followed ritual. Some people fast during this period to be blessed with positive virtues.
Sabudana/Tapioca pearls is an essential ingredient in the fasting food varieties in most homes in India, since it provides the essential energy required during the restricted diet period. There are so many ways this Sabudana is incorporated in the food to create lip smacking dishes, spiking it’s otherwise bland taste with spices and crunchy nuts and garnishing it with herbs making the dish even more relishing.
“Since whole grains are not allowed during the fasting period, so the question that arises is what really is sabudana ? What is it made of ? Sabudana is actually a form of tapioca, also known as cassava root. This plant is very common across India, Southeast Asian countries, South America, Portugal, Spain, and West Indies to name a few countries. Sabudana refers to the starch that is extracted from tapioca roots, which is then processed to form spherical pearls that may vary in size. The pearls are produced by passing the moist starch through a sieve under pressure, and then dried.According to experts, tapioca is not rich in nutrients, even though various cultures consume it as a staple in their regular diet. It is a good source of carbohydrates, and probably is the reason why it is included as part of fasting foods.”
The sabudana container has been sitting in my pantry for quite some time now, you can tell that I do not fast, right? Sometimes you buy an ingredient out of curiosity to experiment with the taste,and forget about it, till the right time comes, this was one such buys.This sabudana kichidi , I had tasted at a friend’s place some time back,I remember it being a mushy bland mass, so was not really keen on trying the recipe, yet for some reason I kept seeing this recipe each time I was on the net reading up some article about Navaratri this year, so I decided to give it a try, following the steps to the T, it turned out tasty & can easily fit into the brunch menu or as an evening snack.
Sabudana/Tapioca pearls – 2 cups
Oil- 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds- 1tsp
Green chilies – 3-4
Curry leaf powder- a pinch
Garam masala powder – 1/2 tsp
Potatoes – 1 cubed
Desiccated coconut – 3 tbsp
Lemon juice – 1tsp
Sugar- 1/2 tsp (optional)
Peanuts – 1/2 cup ( coarsely crushed)
Cilantro/Coriander leaves- a few to garnish
- The trick to getting non sticky Sabudana/Tapioca pearls after cooking is to soak them overnight in water after cleaning it under running water a few times. Drain in it in a colander and press between fingers to check if they get mashed easily, a sign to show they are ready to be cooked.
- Warm oil in a wok, add the cumin seeds, when they splutter add the green chilies and saute a bit.
- Now add the curry leaf powder along with the cubed potatoes and a pinch of turmeric powder, garam masala & salt and cover the wok with a lid allowing the potatoes to cook in the steam.
- When potatoes are well cooked add the crushed peanuts and desiccated coconut and stir well till the potatoes are coated.
- Now add the drained sabudana/tapioca pearls to the above stirring gently until the sabudana is cooked which should take about 5-7 minutes,until they turn soft and transparent.
- Add the sugar and lemon juice & garnish with cilantro & serve hot.
Have a blessed Navaratri !